Australia’s retail sales were flat in December, causing the Australian dollar to fall after the data was released.
In the last month of 2015, there was no month-on-month growth from the prior month, when retail sales rose 0.4 per cent in November.
The December figure was the weakest since a 0.1 per cent decline in July. Economists expected growth of 0.4 per cent.
Adjusted for inflation, retail sales rose 0.6 per cent quarter-on-quarter in the three months ended December 31, scraping ahead of a revised 0.5 per cent (previously 0.6 per cent) in the September quarter.
Ahead of the result, economists at National Australia Bank said their expectations for a stronger-than-consensus result for the month were “supported by strong industry anecdotes.”
The Australian dollar dipped as much as 0.3 per cent to $0.7178 after the disappointing data, but this response may have been complicated by the simultaneous release of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s Statement on Monetary Policy, where the central bank has trimmed its 2017 GDP forecast by 0.25 percentage points and guided towards lower inflation by the end of June this year.